Albemarle County, Charlottesville announce joint agreement on downtown court complex

albemarle countyThe Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the Charlottesville City Council announced Monday that an agreement has been reached on the courts. The Albemarle County General District Court and Circuit Court will remain downtown, in the Court Square area.

Under the agreement, Albemarle and Charlottesville will undertake a redevelopment of the Levy Building site, located at 350 Park Street. The Levy Building will be renovated for use by the County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office and a new 3-story building connected to the Levy Building will accommodate court sets for the City General District Court and County General District Court. In total, the redevelopment will provide approximately 60,730 gross square feet, at an estimated cost of $30 million. The City will contribute approximately $6.8 million toward the project, based on its use of the new facility.

“Albemarle has spent many years studying what will be the largest capital investment in a generation,” shared Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Chair Ann Mallek. “We completed our due diligence to ensure the needs of all Court users are met, with sufficient, convenient parking and modern security enhancements. We are delighted to retain our community’s connection to the fair and equitable provision of justice in historic Court Square. We are confident this is the right investment, in the right location.”

Parking for court users will be addressed through the redevelopment of the shared City-County parcel at 7th Street NE and East Market Street. Under the agreement, the County will sell its share of the parcel to the City. The City plans to develop a parking structure to support the courts and other parking needs downtown. During Court operating hours, 90 parking spaces will be designated for County Court users. The agreement is for a 20-year period, with an option to extend for an additional 20 years.

“The feedback from our citizens has been consistently in favor of keeping our area’s court facilities in downtown Charlottesville,” said Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker. “We are pleased to have reached this joint agreement which we believe will benefit not only the legal community, but also the court clients and all the agencies and nonprofits that provide them support.”

Groundbreaking for this project is expected in 2021 with construction lasting two years.

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